It is okay not to get an A

Why you shouldn’t stress yourself too much over getting an A, and how to deal with the stress of the end of the school year

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Abigail McCormick, Design Editor, Writer

Finals are coming up! You know what that means: endless hours of studying, mountains of homework, procrastinating that mountain of homework, and then stressing about the earlier (albeit inevitable) procrastination. On the other hand, summer is getting closer and closer, seeming (to me at least) like a very bright light at the end of a very dark, very long, very stressful tunnel.

To many students, myself included, the nearing of the end of the school year is a bittersweet thing. It is sweet because of the promise of summer that is looming so near, yet bitter because of the stress of the upcoming AP exams, Keystones, and finals. Plus, students (I’m looking at you) then add the pressure of getting an A onto their already very full plate, which causes the end of the school year to seem more and more like a never ending buffet of stress. But why do students put so much pressure on themselves to get an A in the first place? 

“I think that many students stress over getting an A primarily due to pressure from their parents, or simply from the pressure they put on themselves,” said freshman Victoria Youngkins.  “Many students may evaluate their success, or self worth through their grades, so getting an A to them is very important.  Many students also strive to get into an elite college that has high standards, so students could stress themselves out about meeting these strict requirements.”

Gosh, even thinking about the pressure of getting into college stresses me out … and I’m a freshman! So, people want an A because that’s what colleges want. That is what they want, though, right? Right?! Well, that begs the question: do colleges really care whether a student has an A, or a high B, or even a low B?

“While some elite colleges may have high standards,” stated Youngkins, “I think that they would be more willing to accept a student that does many extra curricular activities and has a B+ over a student that just focuses on schoolwork, and earns an A.”

Okay, so it’s important to not only focus on schoolwork, but also extracurricular activities. Noted. Now, what grade point average (GPA) do colleges want? What GPA should you strive for?

“Doing their best is what students should be striving for,” voiced math teacher and SGA Co-Advisor Cheri Chisesi, “grade point average will come from that. If you do your best, then you will achieve the grade point that you earn.”

Youngkins seems to agree, but also adds that it depends on what further education you want.

“I think that it depends on the student, and what their goals are,” said Youngkins.  “While striving, and working hard to get an A is always important, it’s also good to know that students simply cannot do better than their best. GPA also depends on what the students are striving to achieve after high school.  Getting an extremely high GPA would be more important to a student that wants to attend a prestigious university than a student who wants to attend trade school.”

So, should students be stressed about getting an A or not?

“The focus should be on this: did you learn the material, did you grow as a student, and did you find out something that you did not know before,” stated Mrs. Chisesi. “If you get an A in the process, great! But if all you ever worry about is the letter grade, then you do not focus on learning what is being taught.”

These are wise words that you can learn a lot from. Basically, to sum up that point, GRADES ARE NOT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE WORLD! And they do not, by any means, define you. You are more than your grades. You’ll survive if you do poorly on one test.

“I personally struggle with stress revolving around getting very high grades, and I try to make myself feel better by putting things in perspective,” revealed Youngkins. “Although I may be disappointed, or upset about a ‘bad’ grade that I got, I try to remind myself that it’s okay to have a bad day, and that in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter all that much.  I also would say that it’s important to have a balanced life.  Worrying about being perfect all the time can leave you feeling really sad all the time, which is simply not worth it.  While getting good grades is great, it’s also important to take time for yourself, and put your health and happiness first.”